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Vancouver 2010 benefits from observer program at Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games


Organizing Committee brings home observations and ideas with thanks to Torino for access and learning opportunities.

March 17, 2006, Torino, Italy – As the first Organizing Committee to operate and completely integrate the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games into all of its planning, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) today provided key observations and valuable lessons learned in Torino.

“Our experiences and education at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games were invaluable and the generous sharing of knowledge by the Torino 2006 Organizing Committee (TOROC) has continued through the Paralympic Winter Games,” said VANOC CEO John Furlong. “Both our friends at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and TOROC have given our team their time, their knowledge and their enthusiasm to assist us in our planning for the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.”

A team of 21 VANOC staff from all areas of the organization is participating in 14 observer sessions ranging in topics from marketing and communications, ticketing and finance to press operations, sport, venue operations, Paralympic villages and education. “The Paralympic movement is a powerful tool for increasing disability awareness in both sport and everyday life. The observations we’ve made will enable us to raise the bar higher in support of Paralympism,” said Cathy Priestner Allinger, VANOC’s Senior Vice President for Sport, Paralympic Games and Venue Management. “The lessons and information we take from the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games will assist us in creating an exceptional experience in 2010 for Paralympic athletes and spectators.”

The Observer Program supports the IPC’s initiative to support and assist future Games organizers through a systematic transfer of knowledge and an integrated series of education services with the objective to facilitate and streamline the organization of the Paralympic Games.

Key Lessons and Observations:

Transition from Olympic Games to Paralympic Games

* With 12 days to transition from Olympic Games to Paralympic Games mode, planning and precision is critical. TOROC successfully converted venues, refreshed and readied athlete villages, changed the Look Program and transitioned the workforce.

Look Program

* The core design concept of Torino 2006, for both the Olympic and Paralympic events, allowed for an impactful “Look of the Games” including banners, fence fabric and massive building graphics. However, there are some unique Paralympic design elements that reflect the distinct spirit of the Paralympic Games. These utilize the emblem of the IPC and a distinct Torino 2006 Paralympic Games emblem so the Olympic rings are replaced during the transition phase and the Paralympic emblems take the stage.

Volunteers and Staffing

* Operating two sets of world-class competitions can take its toll on staff and volunteer resources. Strategies are required to ensure that staff and volunteers can sustain the energy required to stage both Winter Games. TOROC assigned two sets of functional area leads – one for Olympic Games and one for Paralympic Games. Both teams worked on both sets of Games but this system ensures that each team of lead staff and volunteers are fresh and energized for their turn on the world stage.

Education and Awareness

* Every Organizing Committee has an opportunity to leave a legacy of greater awareness of, as well as education and participation in disabled sport. TOROC began the process four years ago with the introduction of an annual Paralympic Day in Torino. Sport demonstrations, athlete guests and a festival atmosphere contributed to increased participation and community support annually. In addition, TOROC undertook, in partnership with sponsors, an ambitious advertising campaign to raise awareness about Italian Paralympians and the sports of the Paralympic Winter Games.

Opening Ceremony

* The Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony was a spectacular example of how art and culture know no boundaries or barriers. The Opening Ceremony seamlessly presented performances of able-bodied and disabled artists through dance, music and visual arts. TOROC also integrated the athletes into the ceremony with participation in the torch lighting and athlete seating within the performance area.


* In an effort to expose the Paralympic movement to youth, TOROC utilized a successful school ticket program. In addition, ticket marketing and economical pricing along with general admission seating allowed each venue to be filled effectively. TOROC also realized the need to specifically identify ticket holders with a disability at the time of purchase to better meet their needs upon arrival at the venue.

Venue Atmosphere

* The spectator experience at every venue was enhanced with big screen broadcasts of the field of play and effective use of music.


* During the Paralympic Games, the transportation system must meet the needs of various disability user groups. TOROC ensured that accessible access routes were readily available and increased accessible motor pool transport for athletes and team transport.

Overlay/Operational Downsizing

* The Paralympic Games require increased accessibility and smaller operations than the Olympic Games. TOROC utilized integrated planning for accessibility by building ramps and accessible routes into the venues during the Olympic Games. These were enhanced during transition. They also successfully downsized major Olympic facilities, including the Main Press Centre which went from serving 6,000 users to 1,000 users without compromising service levels.

VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Game and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010.


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